MAHOPAC, N.Y. - The town of Carmel has taken part in a New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) program that will save taxpayers thousands of dollars on the town’s utilities bill.

Supervisor Ken Schmitt said NYSEG reached out to the town last year to gauge its interest in taking part in the utility’s energy-saver program in which the company would install new energy-efficient LED lights and reduced-power ballasts throughout the Town Hall and the Recreation and Parks Department building at Sycamore Park.

“They did an estimate of current and future lighting cost,” Schmitt said. “Current cost for the town is $22,502 annually just for the lights. With the new lights, we save $14,429. That’s a 36 percent savings. With the new bulbs, the future [annual] lighting cost is $8,073. Over five years, that’s a $72,147 savings.”

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Schmitt said workers began retrofitting the lights and ballasts a few weeks ago and finished the project last week. He said the quality of light in Town Hall hasn’t changed.

“It’s the same effect. It might be a little brighter,” he said. “They matched it to the lighting of the old system. The biggest change is the savings we are going to recognize as a result.”

Before deciding to take part in the program, Schmitt said, he reached out to neighboring communities that had already participated to see how they fared.

“We made calls to other towns who did it before we agreed to it to get their feedback,” he said. “They all said they were pleased with it and happy with end results. They said they were glad that they did it. The savings was a big factor.”

Schmitt said he even visited a few town halls that had undergone the retrofit and found that people working there were happy with the results.

The project was overseen by Lime Energy, a Newark, N.J.-based energy consulting company, Schmitt said. The program targeted municipalities and small businesses. Local businesses Joe and Mario’s Pizza, Pawsitively Petastic (pet grooming) and En Vogue Hair Designers all took part in the program, he said.

The supervisor noted that the total cost of the retrofit for the town’s buildings was $34,465, but the town only had to contribute $1,750.

“We didn’t commit to it until a month ago, but it was a deal we just couldn’t refuse,” Schmitt said.

Two years ago, the town took part in another NYSEG energy-saver project and retrofitted streetlamps throughout the town with LED lights. The program converted 1,078 of the town’s 1,126 lights, saving an estimated $12,000 a year on land costs and $17,000 per year on energy-delivery charges.

“This was a no-brainer,” Schmitt said. “I am always looking for ways to save the taxpayers money. That’s my job.”